Author Topic: New Cohort article 7-8-08  (Read 2773 times)

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Zeke

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New Cohort article 7-8-08
« on: July 08, 2008, 07:37:12 PM »
http://brilliantgameologists.com/cohort/?p=10


I like some of the points raised in this article. My main problem with overly involved character description is that, just as no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy, no character description survives the first session.

fil kearney

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Re: New Cohort article 7-8-08
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2008, 09:47:52 PM »
I agree whole heartedly with Tsuyo! 
My character's specifics are completely irrelavent until integrated with the actual story.

I'd think it would be better to give a general idea like Tsuyo suggests-- orphaned elf grows up on the street as a criminal. 
The DM could then take that and tie it to whatever storyline they want, and even introduce new info as the story proceeds as a plot twist/sudden reveal.


I will contradict myself by saying when I DM, I like the players to give me not so much specific details about the character, but things that happened to the character. 
I rarely start at level 1... often level 10 or higher.  This begs the question, "what did you do to get to that level?".  I think it's a fair question to ask for non level one characters, and I think suitable asnwers are things like,
-- did some caravan gigs when low level,
-- got involved with some orc raiding parties after that, protecting some towns visited on the caravan gigs
-- found some cave systems, roughed up a medusa lair
-- returned some loot found there, got hired out by a wizard to go gather some other trinkets

etc. etc. etc.... real open ended stuff that can be sprinkled into the game world, and the DM can potentially come back with some of that history instead of randomm encounters or minor plot points.
But this is really more brainstorming plot hooks than demanding a thought out (and likely irrelevant) intricate background.



my .02.  Game on!

AndyJames

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Re: New Cohort article 7-8-08
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2008, 03:19:38 AM »
Nice one Tsuyo.

Generally, my reply to a DM that requires a novel as a background story is this: "Give me a complete boxed set of your setting, complete with unique PrCs and Monsters as well as a Player's Guide, and then I'll consider giving you my 2500 word essay on my character's life."

In my experience, these are they type of DMs you want to avoid. They are either storytellers, not DMs, or they are anal-retentive asshats with a nerfbat the size of Jupiter. Either way, too much of a :wall for me to bother with. My criteria is generally simple: "Give me a reason why you are x." x can be anything like "why you are affiliated with the university" (in my Ephemera game), or "why you chosen to gather with this group of misfits to explore the Dungeon of Doom". Five sentences tops plus general description of your character (height, size, race, colouring, etc.).

I don't want to know that you went and slayed Ginorticon the evil Warforge Artificer of Mt Black. I don't particularly care. What you imagine that you did has no meaning. What you do from here on in does. At least in my games.

Zeke

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Re: New Cohort article 7-8-08
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2008, 03:00:34 PM »
It seems to me that this approach has many of the same weaknesses as a game based ona a media franchise. What I mean by that his that they both suffer from stagnation and lack of choices. The character becomes lock stepped into certain goals and motivations. I prefer a looser system of organization with a plethora of piñatas for the PCs to explore.

tsuyoshikentsu

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Re: New Cohort article 7-8-08
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2008, 06:46:18 PM »
It seems to me that this approach has many of the same weaknesses as a game based ona a media franchise. What I mean by that his that they both suffer from stagnation and lack of choices. The character becomes lock stepped into certain goals and motivations. I prefer a looser system of organization with a plethora of piñatas for the PCs to explore.

Do you mean my suggestion or the novel?
Anyway, this cake is great!  It's so delicious and moist.

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